It was unusual for such a broad swath of TV outlets to hand several minutes of precious airtime to any public figure with a message to peddle, no questions asked.
On the other hand, Woods’ message was short, dramatic and – no matter if you bought his remorse or not – gripping when he declared, “I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.”
For many of the networks – especially cable news and sports-oriented ESPN – his news-making confessional was a welcome rallying point, rich grist for the mill for such talk-dominated TV. It promised to fuel hours of fresh debate on All Things Tiger, a favorite sport since Woods ran his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree outside his Florida home on Nov. 27. The resulting scandal has imperiled Woods’ towering status as an athlete and commercial brand.
Moreover, in the Western United States, Woods’ appearance was perfectly timed for the major broadcast networks, whose morning news shows were airing at that hour. (NBC was covering the Winter Olympics.)
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